As you know, Clint shared his thoughts last week for the first anniversary of our partnership. But after further thought, I decided I also wanted a chance to reflect on this past year of being partnered with Clint. So this week, I get my turn!
Although there may be a bit of overlap. I hope our different perspectives will shine through.
I shared the following on my Facebook page…
A year ago today, Clint and I graduated as a team. We had just completed our Team Training and were ready to begin our journey together. It took time for us to adjust to the many changes we were each facing. But as the days passed, our bond and relationship strengthened. We were learning to dance as one.
There are not enough words to express the profound effect Clint has had on my life. He has given me the confidence to venture out on my own again. And increased my independence greatly. Clint is eager to work and loves learning new things. The list of tasks that he does is endless and his execution of each is effortless.
Living with a chronic illness, and adjusting when new limitations are imposed, can be challenging. With a decline in my strength and changes with my disability, I wasn’t sure I would have the ability to put forth the effort that is needed when getting a new service dog. Could I teach him the specific tasks I needed that would best help me? And open my heart when it was hurting from the loss of retiring Buffy?
But I was worrying needlessly. Clint made it easy. He stepped right in and took his job seriously. And wiggled his way into my hurting heart. He quickly learned the things Buffy did to help me. And so much more. I am in awe daily of how much he does to help and the vast range of tasks that he is capable of doing.
I am grateful for everything Clint does to make my days easier. And the joy he brings me with his endearing personality. His eagerness and sparkly eyes that say “let me do that for you” make me smile and give me the confidence to push through, even on the hardest days. He easily makes an ordinary day extraordinary.
Thank you, Clint, for choosing me. And being my partner on this journey. I look forward to what lies ahead for us. And all that we will accomplish together. Love you, sweet boy!
Thank you, Emma, for raising Clint and giving me the gift of independence. He is an amazing dog. You gave him a solid foundation so he could fulfill his purpose. I am grateful and honored to be his partner. He has enriched my life and enhanced my independence far beyond measure. Sending lots of love and hugs from “our” special boy. ❤️ 🐾
Although this sums up my feelings perfectly I want to share a few more things here. A more in-depth look at just how he makes my days easier.
Clint is always close by me!
I saw my neurologist recently and tried to put into words the impact Clint has had on my health. And just how he makes a difference. Clinically there hasn’t been any improvement. But the adjustment to my “new norm” has been huge.
Due to a fairly significant decline in my strength, and an increase in my fatigue, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to do the simplest of tasks. This is where Clint has the biggest impact with making my days easier
I can ask him to do a task and without any doubt in my mind, he will effortlessly perform the task. There is no need to repeat the cue or give extra encouragement. Which saves me a substantial amount of energy.
He does simple tasks like flushing the toilet. Unzipping and removing my jacket. Turning the light on or off. And picking up anything I drop.
He saves me from maneuvering my chair to and from the trash can. Or the repositioning with my chair that would be needed for me to open and close cupboard doors and drawers.
It takes focus and thought to maneuver my chair. And the energy to push the control. So anything Clint does to help minimize my need to move from place to place is huge.
When in public there is no need for me to struggle with the impossible tasks of trying to open a heavy door. Or get my chair close enough to reach an automatic door button. Or push the elevator button. Because Clint eagerly does his job.
All of these things may seem like such simple things to do. But the limitations imposed by my disability, and the need to maneuver my wheelchair, make them not so simple. Clint is right there to assist me at a moment’s notice. And takes away the fear of who will help if I’m alone and need help.
Because of Clint, my days are filled with doing the things I most enjoy. Instead of using up all of my energy on daily living skills. He has increased my quality of life far beyond measure.
Even when Clint is with his sister, Roo, he is always watching and ready to help me!